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Breaking down the undecided House races

The election may have been Tuesday, but that doesn't mean all the races are settled. There are still at least 10 House races that are still in question (though NBC and other news outlets have projected winners in a few of them.) Three of the races -- NC-7, CA-7 and CA-52 -- are within 1,000 votes and likely headed for recounts.  The majority of the outstanding races are Republican-held seats, and if the current leads hold Democrats stand to pick up a half dozen more seats. 

CALIFORNIA 7TH CD (R): This is one of the closest races in the country. Rep. Dan Lungren (R), a three-term incumbent and chair of the House Administration Committee trails by 184 votes. The Democratic challenger, physician Ami Bera, lost to Lungren handily two years ago, but the surge of Obama voters helped him this year. Sacramento County officials are going thru nearly 200,000 mail-in and provisional ballots, and say it could be early December before they finish counting. By law, officials have 28 days to certify the results. 

CALIFORNIA 52nd CD (R): This is another very close race, with incumbent Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) trailing Scott Peters (D) by 685 votes. Bilbray has served nearly six terms in Congress in two different stints. After redistricting added a large number of new voters east of San Diego to this district, Peters got a boost from nearly $4 million in spending from outside groups seeking to unseat Bilbray. There are still about 475,000 absentee and provisional ballots left to be tallied, and counting began today in San Diego County. 

NORTH CAROLINA 7th CD (D): Incumbent "Blue Dog" Mike McIntyre (D) leads David Douzer by only 411 votes, out of more than 334,000 votes cast. McIntyre has represented this southern North Carolina district for 18 years. The North Carolina Board of Elections says there are about 10,0000 provisional ballots yet to be counted in the dozen counties that make up the 7th CD, but some of those ballots may not apply to this race. November 16 is the deadline for certifying the election results. Right now, the margin is close enough to trigger a mandatory recount under state law if requested by Rouzer. 

CALIFORNIA 26TH CD (R): This southern California district in Ventura County opened up when longtime Republican Elton Gallegly retired after 26 years.  Two state legislators waged an expensive campaign, with Democrat Julia Brownley now holding a fairly significant 7,000-vote lead over Republican Tony Strickland. NBC has projected Brownley as the winner. 

But election officials say there are still upwards of 40,000 mail in ballots yet to be counted, and it will be several days before they even begin tabulating. Most of the yet to be counted ballots are mail-in ballots that arrived on Election Day, or were dropped off at polling places, as permitted under California law. 

CALIFORNIA 36th CD (R): Incumbent Mary Bono Mack (R) trails her re-election race by over 4,500 votes to Democratic challenger Raul Ruiz. Bono Mack won the seat 14 years ago in a special election to fill the seat of her husband Sonny Bono, who died in a skiing accident. With Democrats sensing an upset, Ruiz got a lot of national help for his race, including an endorsement from Bill Clinton. 
Bono Mack has not yet conceded because there are still more than 180,000 mail-in, provisional, and damaged ballots that still need to be processed (though not all of those ballots may apply to this race). The Riverside County registrar plans to update results by the end of the week. NBC has projected Ruiz as the winner. 

ARIZONA 1st CD (New): Former congressman Ann Kirkpatrick (D) leads by more than 7,100 votes in her effort to win back the seat she lost two years ago. Arizona's 1st CD covers about half the state, running from the top of the state in Flagstaff, all the way down to areas near Tucson.  The district covers parts of nine counties, which makes final vote assessment more difficult. 

Republican Jonathan Paton refuses to concede because there are more than 10,000 provisional and absentee ballots still uncounted. However, a large chunk of the uncounted vote comes from Kirkpatrick strongholds in the northern part of the state, while there are fewer uncounteds left in Paton strongholds like Pima and Pinal counties. NBC has projected Kirkpatrick as the winner. 

ARIZONA 2nd CD (D): Incumbent Ron Barber (D), a former aide to Gabby Giffords who won a special election to her seat earlier this year, currently trails by 426 votes. The Republican challenger is retired Air Force fighter pilot Martha McSally, who is vying to win this moderate district in southeastern Arizona near Tucson. Barber believes he has the votes since there are an estimated 70,000 absentee and provisional ballots still uncounted in Pima County, where he won a slight majority on Election Day. If the final margin is within 200 votes, Arizona law mandates a recount.  

ARIZONA 9th CD (New): Democrat Kyrsten Sinema leads by just over 2,700 votes in this new district in the eastern suburbs of Phoenix. Republican Vernon Parker is a former White House aide to Bush 41 who used to be the mayor of Paradise Valley.  There are more than 400,000 ballots left to be counted in Maricopa County, but not all of those ballots may apply to this race. Election officials hope to have a final result before Thanksgiving. A wildcard in the race turned out to be a Libertarian candidate, who won more than 6% of the vote and who urged voters to stay home on election Day to protest the political system. 

FLORIDA 18th CD (R) -- Though he has yet to concede, Tea Party darling Rep. Allen West (R) appears to have lost his seat to Democrat businessman Patrick Murphy. This was the single-most expensive House race in the nation, with more than $23 million was spent by the candidates and outside groups, most of it on behalf of West.  
West trails by more than 2,400 votes, with all precincts having reported. On Wednesday, West said he would request a hearing into alleged voting irregulars in St. Lucie county, but no paperwork has been filed yet.   here are still about 1,000 ballots uncounted in St. Lucie county, and perhaps a few thousand more in Palm Beach and Martin counties. Florida state law requires a recount if the vote is closer than .05%, but West trails by more than that.

MICHIGAN 1st CD (R): In a rematch of the 2010 race in this northern Michigan Upper Peninsula district, incumbent Republican Dan Benishek holds a 2,300 vote lead over Democratic challenger Gary McDowell.  It is the second squeaker in a row for Tea Party-supported Benishek, who beat McDowell in 2010 by a scant 15 votes in what his supporters coined a "Danslide." Michigan's 1st CD covers more than 30 counties, and given his experience two years ago, McDowell says he'll wait until all the provisional and military ballots are counted. NBC has projected Benishek as the winner.